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County’s bridges need replacing

By Staff | Nov 22, 2015

With 254 bridges in Faribault County, having a plan for their repair or replacement is important.

Faribault County engineer Mark Daly presented the County Board with a five-year plan which outlines the proposed work on 21 of those bridges.

“Every year the county should pass a resolution, prioritizing the bridge replacement projects,” Daly explained. “Especially since a lot of the bridges are in townships.”

He added the bridge projects for 2016 are already set and include one major project in the city of Blue Earth.

“The main project is going to be the bridge on Main Street which is going to total $1.3 million,” Daly says.

Daly went on to explain how several of the bridge projects scheduled for 2017 were pushed up due to the condition of the bridges.

“We have several bridges in the county that have timber piles,”?Daly said. “They have the potential to crack and break. So, we are advancing several of those projects.”

There are six bridges in Faribault County with timber piling, which means the bridge supports are made of timber which holds up the structure. “And the county is responsible for replacing all bridges, even on township roads,”?Daly says.

The County Board passed a resolution approving the identification of bridges which will need to be replaced or removed within the next five years.

“This is an ongoing thing,”?commissioner Tom Loveall said. “It never quits.”

Bridges are not the only project to be slated for 2016 in Faribault County.

The county commissioners also approved a bid for the work in Wells on the Safe Routes to School project.

The base bid came in at $379,161, which caught the attention of one commissioner.

“That is a high bid,”?commissioner Tom Warmka said.

Daly confirmed that the bid did come in over the anticipated amount.

“It was about $90,000 more than the engineer’s estimate,” he said.

Daly explained that much of the cost comes from the size of the sidewalks and the work on curb and gutters.

“The costs do add up,”?he said.

The bid was approved by the Wells City Council during their meeting held last Monday night, contingent upon the approval of the Faribault County Board.

However, the county is just acting as a financial agent and will not actually be responsible for any of the costs associated with the Safe Routes to School project.

The costs will actually be split between the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT)?and the city of Wells.

“When is the anticipated construction date?”?commissioner Greg Young asked.

Daly explained they have a completion date set and the start date will depend on the spring season.

“The completion date is set for June 30 so whenever spring allows them to get going,”?he said.

Some commissioners questioned how much usage the new routes and sidewalks will see once they are complete.

“They have bus stops around town, how many kids actually walk to school?”?Warmka asked.

Daly pointed out that the city of Wells felt this project was going to be an important addition to the town, especially with the new school.

“Wells thought the project was important enough to do all this work,” he said. “It is important to them.”

Commissioner Bill Groskreutz added that it is especially important since the school is located off of Highway 22.

“And, this will encourage students to walk,”?commissioner Loveall added.

Daly asked that the county enter a joint powers agreement between the county, the city of Wells, and MnDOT.

“This is something required by MnDOT and something the county should do on projects, something more than a handshake,”?he said.

In other business:?

The Human Services and Prairieland boards were both looking for nominations.

Commissioner John Roper would be finishing his time as chair on the Human Services board while Warmka was just finishing his time as the chair on the Prairieland board.

“I would renominate myself for the Human Services board,” Roper said expressing his interest to serve again.

Other commissioners wondered if they should make it a point to have different commissioners serve when one’s term was done.

“I think we should try to mix it up,”?Young said.

However others felt that if someone is interested in the board they are serving on then it may be better to have them continue.

“I think I? do best in things that engage me,” Loveall agreed.

They voted in favor of renominating Roper for the Human Services board.

Commissioner Young was nominated to take the open seat for the Prairieland board.

The County Board approved a grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to the Faribault County Sheriffs office for snowmobile enforcement.

“We receive $36,024 for 2016 and the same amount in 2017,” Sheriff Mike Gormley said.